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Facts, Beliefs and Biases: Perspectives on Forest Conservation in Finland

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The history of forestry in Finland demonstrates that the management of nature is embedded in social and economic institutions. That these institutions have cultural dimensions needs to be recognized if current conflicts over forests are to be resolved. Drawing insights from social studies of science and technology, the paper explores Finland's 'forest war', which is carried out in strikingly science-based terms. It shows that debate has been carried out within the bounds of what official expertise on forests has long deemed acceptable, where the conservationist side of the argument also draws on scientific claims which are constructed, not neutral or extra-social facts. Since social and cultural factors are central to resource management even where debate is pursued in adamantly technical and scientific language, it needs to be recognized that 'nature' is not sufficient grounds for policy, but nor is 'the economy'.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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